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Olympic Hopeful Shane Wiskus Shines With Five Top-Three Finishes At Winter Cup

By Blythe Lawrence | Feb. 28, 2021, 10:44 p.m. (ET)

Shane Wiskus competes on the rings during the 2020 American Cup on March 7, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisc.


Olympic hopefuls Shane Wiskus and Yul Moldauer each clinched Winter Cup apparatus titles as the first elite competition to be held on U.S. soil since August 2019 came to a close Sunday in Indianapolis. 

Individual event results at the Winter Cup were determined by totaling the scores from Friday’s all-around final and Sunday’s apparatus finals on each event, meaning gymnasts had to show consistency over the two days of competition. 

Newly installed at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center, where he works alongside five-time U.S. champion Sam Mikulak, Wiskus looked fit and healthy throughout the weekend, making an early claim for an Olympic team berth later this year by medaling on every individual event except pommel horse. His haul included a first-place finish on floor exercise, second on parallel bars and high bar, and a tie for third on still rings and vault. 

”The only thing I was thinking about this meet was using it as practice for the bigger meets to come,” said Wiskus, a member of the 2019 World Championships team. The Minnesota native was one of several who welcomed the chance to do back-to-back all-around competitions in Indianapolis, though nobody did it quite as well as he.

“It was a perfect opportunity to go out there and get as comfortable as I could, so that way when I go to the U.S. Championships and hopefully the Olympic Trials, I’ll have experience and I’ll feel better,” the 22-year-old added. “It was just important for me to be here.”

Though he showed flashes of brilliance, Moldauer’s ride was rougher than he might have liked. Problems on high bar likely cost the three-time World team member the all-around title Friday, but he hit his parallel bars routine on both days to take first place in the event.

The 24-year-old used Sunday’s apparatus final to test drive a few upgrades and give his new pommel horse routine a second airing, with mixed results: he fell from the pommel horse and wasn’t able to land his new double twisting Kasamatsu vault. 

“I don’t think it was bad. This is an upgrade that I’ve wanted to try at a big meet and I just didn't get the block, but that’s why I did it on day two.” Moldauer said. “Yeah, I didn’t land and I didn’t score well, but I went for it, so I think that was the best part of it.” 

Other event winners included former Illinois standout Alex Diab on rings and 30-year-old Eddie Penev on vault. Genki Suzuki, a former teammate of Moldauer’s at the University of Oklahoma, won the high bar title, and Indianapolis native Alec Yoder, a bronze medalist at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games, had the best overall total on pommel horse. 

Suzuki, Vitaliy Guimaraes, Isaiah Drake and Adrian de los Angeles were added to the national team following Sunday’s competition, joining Wiskus, Moldauer, all-around champion Cameron Bock, Riley Loos, Allan Bower, and Paul Juda.

Note: The women’s competition wrapped up Sunday morning with a final flight of competitors. The top performer in the session was 16-year-old Lilly Lippeatt, who posted a four-event total of 53.55, putting her fourth in the final standings, behind Jordan Chiles, Shilese Jones and Emily Lee. Winter Cup is the first major individual victory for 19-year-old Chiles, who trains alongside Simone Biles in Texas. The top four earn spots on the national team. 

Blythe Lawrence

Blythe Lawrence has covered two Olympic Games and is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. Follow her on Twitter @rockergymnastix.